I wasn’t able to finish reading Skyward before the book was due back to the library. The thing about Sanderson books is that they’re very popular, and holds abound. And if there are holds, you can’t renew. So, instead of accruing fines on a book I intended to buy anyway, I just went and bought the dumb thing. Which, it turns out, was a sound decision.
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
So, here’s the thing. I’ve been slowing down on my mad dash of consuming Sanderson content lately. I don’t know. I think that last signing I went to (for Oathbringer) really turned me off to his books, through no fault of his own. There’s just such a cultish fervor surrounding Sanderson and his books, and I am definitely guilty of such behavior. So, I took a step back. I still haven’t read Oathbringer. And I wasn’t even all that excited to read Skyward.
That is, until I actually got a few pages into it.
This book reminded me why so many readers love Brandon’s books. Why I love Brandon’s books. It’s full of amazing characters, hilarious dialogue, and a plot that absolutely held me captive. I loved Spensa and the world she lives in, which I should have expected; Sanderson does world-building better than just about anybody else in the genre right now.
Spensa is the sixteen year old girl who just passed her pilot’s exam. But it doesn’t matter, because the Defiant Defense Force has zero interest in letting her fly. You see, Spensa, aka Spin, is the daughter of the DDF’s only coward. Her father abandoned his Flight during the Battle of Alta, and was subsequently shot down for his cowardice. Spensa has trained and studied her whole life to get into the DDF and prove them wrong about her dad, but Admiral Ironsides won’t give her the chance. They sabotaged Spensa’s test, and suggested she take a job elsewhere.
That is, until Captain Cobb, callsign: Mongrel, accepts Spensa into his classroom. It’s her one chance at redemption and she refuses to let it pass her by, no matter how difficult the Admiral makes her life.
Spensa is allowed to take her Flight class, and nothing else. She can’t join her Flight in the mess hall, she can’t bunk in the academy, and she can’t use the learning resources beyond her classroom. So, she lives in a cave she found by chance, sleeping in the cockpit of a crashed ancient starfighter.
In her spare time, because why not, she repairs the ship in hopes that she’ll be able to fly it when she graduates, since Ironsides is unlikely to let her fly no matter how well she does in her training. And, naturally, she’s out to find out the truth about her father, and what really happened that day at the Battle of Alta.
I’m not going to go into more details from here, because it would be spoiler-y and I really don’t want to ruin this book for anyone. There were quite a few zigs and zags that I didn’t anticipate and really enjoyed. I would prefer to preserve those for readers.
Know that this book did make me tear up a couple of times, and made me cheer out loud at least twice. My husband laughed at me as I read the last fifty or so pages on the couch, because I was yelling at the book quite a bit. In true Sanderson fashion, things do not end how I thought they would.
Thank goodness this is the first of a planned four book series, with the next book set to release in Fall 2019. I do not want to wait long to spend more time with Spensa and her Flight, callsign: Skyward.
I’m still reading Lies Sleeping. I’m having difficulty adjusting to my utter lack of free time lately. That and Red Dead Redemption 2 and a renewed fervor for all things Dragon Age is really putting a damper on my reading. But, it’s less than 300 pages and due back on Tuesday.
Yes? I just did them this morning before I opened WordPress. I’m counting it.
Read Lies Sleeping
No. But, I did finish Skyward!
Write 2k words
No, but I got real close.
Weekly Word Count: 1,586
I don’t really feel like I accomplished much this week. I wrote some overdue blog posts, and spent a lot of my free-time (such as it is) binge reading the newest Sanderson book. I did play some Red Dead Redemption 2, and on Sunday we made a fancy dinner, bought a Christmas tree, and assembled our new coat rack!
I was way too excited about that coat rack, by the way.
Publish two blog posts
Read Lies Sleeping
Write 2k words
That’s it. That’s all I’ve got going on right now. The blog posts should be easy since I’ll have the Skyward review to write. The new Peter Grant book isn’t very long and they always read fast, so I’m sure I’ll get that done as well. Really, the only question mark on this list is the writing. I’m feeling a bit mentally checked out right now, which is pretty typical post-Nano. We’ll see if I can pull out of this funk.
If not, that’s what video games are for.
So yeah. I’m feeling good about my odds of meeting my reading goal for the year, and I’ve done a lot of writing this year. Just gotta stay productive and coast on into the new year.
If it’s been awhile since you’ve read the first two novellas in this series, I recommend checking out my reviews for Legion and Legion: Skin Deep before delving into this one. I know I needed the refresher before I tucked into this book.
Goodreads Rating: 5/5 Stars
Stephen Leeds is back, and so are his aspects. Ivy, J.C., and Tobias are still front and center, but a few others come in to play over the course 105 page novella. Personal faves were Lua and Jenny, an all new aspect intent on harassing Stephen as she follows him and writes down every bit of his adventures. His own personal biographer, all in his head!
In this story, Leeds and Co., are on the hunt for the elusive Sandra, who recently texted Stephen a single word: Help. Leeds panics. Sandra hasn’t contacted him in years, and now she reaches out in apparent distress? His anxiety is through the roof, and Ivy and J.C.’s distrust of the situation does nothing to help. But that’s what Tobias is for.
To make matters worse, Leeds is losing control. Two of his aspects have disappeared, turning into Nightmares. Spectral/undead versions of themselves, intent on harming Leeds and his remaining aspects. Turns out, his personas can kill one another. And that’s a painful lesson to learn.
This lack of control only ups the stakes for Stephen. He has to find Sandra. She was the one that helped him gain control in the first place, maybe she can help him again. But as the hunt continues Leeds begins to question who and what is real, and whether the price of ‘normal’ is really worth it.
I have a lot of warm fuzzy feelings for this story. It’s the first Sanderson book I’ve read in quite a while, and it really reminded me why I love him so much. It also struck a resonant chord in me, because Legion is a very personal story for Sanderson and it really showed in this novella.
Leeds is a man with voices and characters in his head. People as real as the neighbors you wave to each morning or the barista who hands you your coffee when you’re running late to work.
And that’s how it feels to be an author. You create these people, often times without really meaning to, and they are suddenly vibrant and demanding and so much more real than you ever anticipated.
The end of this novella actually brought a tear to my eye. And while that’s not unheard of for Sanderson stories, I definitely wouldn’t say I expect to get emotional from his books. This was a bittersweet tear, a feeling wholly satisfied and melancholy.
It was beautiful.
I know Sanderson is widely admired for his giant works of fantasy. Books like Mistborn, The Stormlight Archive, Elantris, and Warbreaker. And they are wonderful. I love them all. But man, I think he’s actually at his best when words are at a premium. All three Legion novellas were powerful in their own way, and let’s not forget the Hugo award-winning The Emperor’s Soul.
Legion: Lies of the Beholder is available in a few different formats. As a standalone e-book and in a hardbound collection of all three novellas called Legion: The Many Lives of Stephen Leeds. This is the copy I read courtesy of the library, and will eventually purchase, once we catch up from our expensive vacation. The cover art is phenomenal, and even better are the ink-blot chapter illustrations that change over the course of the series.
I was impressed with this book overall. Can you tell? I was impressed with the clever plot, and the depth of emotion Sanderson put into so few pages. I was impressed with the book design, both for the cover and the interior and would greatly recommend the series to fans of detective stories with a slight Sci-Fi spin.
I’m making good progress on War for the Oaks, and am optimistic that I’ll be able to review it next week. After that I’ve got a few more Urban Fantasy novels queued up, so we’ll see what strikes my fancy.
I can’t believe February is over already! I think I feel this way each year, because it’s difficult for me to understand how missing a couple days of the month makes such a big difference. Two or three days should not make February feel like a blip on the radar of the year.
But, it does, and it makes working toward my goals that much more frantic.
What were the goals?
Edit four chapters of The Steel Armada
Get Lifelike submission ready
How’d I do?
Edit four chapters of The Steel Armada
Yes! I worked really hard to get two chapters edited on Tuesday and Wednesday, which means I finished 4 chapters in February and one in January. I’m feeling good about it.
Nope. But, I’m close. Only a chapter and half left.
Get Lifelike submission ready
Yes? I’m not sure. I did another edit of it last night. I switched the POV from third to first person and added a much needed tweak to the ending, but I’m not sure if it’s ready for submission just yet. I like it, it’s headed in the right direction, but it needs fine tuning. I’m still calling this a win.
Yep! I read something like seven books in February, boosting my Reading Challenge and giving me plenty of fodder for book reviews.
Total February Word Count: 6,623
Any icing on the cake?
I published 10 blog posts in February
3 weekly summaries, 5 book reviews, 1 monthly recap, and 1 craft discussion
Applied for a scholarship to the Oregon Writers Colony 2018 Annual Conference
I’m trying not to think too much about this, because I’m nervous and excited, but it’s constantly in the back of my mind. They’ll announce award recipients sometime in mid-March. Prepare yourselves for that post when it comes.
The Audient Void #5
I’ve taken on more duties with AV, helping the graphic designer look through the proofs before he finalizes and prints. This is always exciting, because it means another issue is about to drop!
Sharing revisions of The Steel Armada
As of 2/26, Madhu and I are back to swapping pages for feedback. She’s working on something new, while I’m sending her the reworks of my novel, per her feedback from our previous swap.
Edit five chapters of The Steel Armada
Submit The Seasons
Continue prepping Lifelike for submission
I’ve got a lot of them. They’re bouncing around my brain and keeping my anxiety up. Mainly, I’m anxious about submitting The Seasons. I haven’t submitted a piece of short fiction for publication since… 2014? And I’ve never submitted a piece of genre fiction.
Okay, yes, there was that stint with Caladria where I wrote a handful of Fantasy short stories and they were published. But that was more like a volunteer effort. They asked for writers to pump out content, and though I got some great experience writing on a deadline and feedback from editors, those stories are no longer available for purchase. They just sit in my “Caladria” file folder, collecting virtual dust.
So, this feels much more real and scary. I like The Seasons a lot. I think it’s strong. I think it’s ready. But, I just don’t know if it’s pro status. And that’s the real issue. I’m only submitting to professional markets. I want paid for my work. I don’t want resume padding and feathers in my cap. I want monetary proof that what I’m doing is worthwhile.
And so, I’m terrified.
I’m also anxious because I really want to go to this writing conference in April, and I’ll find out in a couple of weeks if I’ll be able to attend or not. I know the time will fly by, but until I know for certain whether I’ll be going or not, I’m on eggshells.
Lifelike is coming along nicely. I did some quality reworking on it last night. I actually let my husband read it, which is something I almost never do. He’s not a big reader, so his feedback isn’t critical or experienced, but he’s smart and can give a good sense of what works and what doesn’t in a story. At least, from a reader’s point of view. I’ve also sent the story back to my friend Matt, who read a previous version of it, to see what he thinks of the rework. I’m going to let it stew for the next few days and come back to it next week and see what it needs.
Other than that, I’m just reading and editing. The Steel Armada is coming along well enough. It’s a big job, and there’s some major changes that take a considerable amount of time and rewriting. Characters are getting cut/absorbed into other characters, everyone is getting fleshed out more. Backstories and motivations are becoming clearer, to me and to the reader. And holy-moly there’s so much world building! I’m worried about pacing a little, but I figure that’ll get sorted in the next draft. Right now I just need to get everything out on the page and really nail down what’s happening and why. I can clean up the mess later.
The good news is that I’m editing about 2 chapters a week. If I keep the pace up, I’ll have this draft of The Steel Armada done by June. And that is some exciting shit. If that does happen, I’ll let it sit for a month or so, and really focus on writing. I’ll either return to writing From the Quorum, or write a new short story, depends on how I feel in June.
As for reading, I’m doing well. I’m currently two books ahead of my target, and I’ve got four more in the pipeline. Hopefully I can keep up the pace and pad that Goodreads Reading Challenge before I finally crack open Oathbringer. 1,233 pages is no joke, and it’s going to take considerable time to get through it all. I don’t want to fall behind because of it, so I’m reading smaller titles and graphic novels for the time being.
So, that’s my thoughts/feelings/concerns etc., etc., about March. There’s a lot going on, but so far my efforts to piecemeal everything out into Monthly and Weekly goals is working. I’m getting shit done. And that’s really all that matters.
I’m off to work on Sanctified. I’ll be back over the weekend to share my review of The Stone Sky, so make sure you stay tuned!
Today is a new day. A day full of possibility, and it’s off to a wonderful start. A stomach full of some egg frittata concoction my husband made, and the bolstering aroma of percolating coffee hangs in the air.
I’m normally off on Mondays (for the time being) but the husband is also off thanks to its being President’s Day. I’m not letting that stop me from sequestering myself in the office and getting work done, however.
In my last post I told you all how sick we were last week, and I’m pleased to say that we’re both back to feeling relatively normal. There’s still the occasional sneeze and stuffy noses in need of tissue, but otherwise we’re well again.
So, how did last week stack up goals-wise? Not as badly as I thought.
Last week I wanted to:
Write chapter 13 of From the Quorum
That did not happen. I didn’t even open Scrivener until last night. I considered writing for a tiny moment, but we had company and dinner in the works, so I decided against it.
Finish Arcanum Unbounded
Done. I don’t think I’ll do a review on this one, mainly because it would either be overly simplistic, glossing over the stories, or far too in depth as I gave each story its own review. Just know that, if you’re a Sanderson fan, you should read it.
Publish two blog posts
Barely. Last night’s little update counts, so I got to put this one into the black.
Continue The Steel Armada edits
Yep. Edited about three chapters last night. This is still technically a read through, but I’m taking a lot of notes, both on the pages and in a designated notebook. So, none of these chapters are ready to be called “Draft #3”, but the feedback I’m getting and the notes I’m taking or forcing me to do a lot of thinking and world building. I’m very excited about this editing round!
So, not too bad. Considering the week we had, and how awful I felt, I still managed to get most of my goals done. That feels damn good, and keeps the momentum going forward into this week.
What’s on the agenda for the next seven days?
Write chapter 13 of From the Quorum
Finish reading The Paper Magician
Publish two blog posts
Continue The Steel Armada edits/read through/research
A note on this one: As I’ve mentioned before, world building and character development are my two main focuses for this round of editing. I’ve done a lot of great work already in answering reader questions and addressing where there’s too many blanks. But, I don’t have enough knowledge about ships in general to describe them and let my characters discuss them in a convincing way. So, I’m doing research. I’ve loaned a book from the library called Sailing Ships by Björn Landström and it is full of diagrams and terminology for all kinds of rigged ships! I’m really looking forward to delving into it and learning more about the world of The Steel Armada.
Book club meets next week to discuss The Paper Magician, so I need to hurry up and get that done. I’m only on chapter 2, but according to fellow Clubbers, it goes pretty quick. After that I’ll need to read and write as much as possible in the two following weeks, because Mass Effect Andromeda releases on March 21st, and I will be useless for a long time after that.
In other news, I’m meeting with the creator/editor/producer of The Audient Void this evening to “discuss some things regarding books”. He and his wife operate a local indie bookstore, and since I work at a library I guess they want to meet up and chat. I’m not really sure about what, and I’m always a little nervous about vague social meetings, so I’m trying not to over-think it too much. I really like them both, so I’m sure it’ll be a fun and interesting conversation.
I’m forcing myself to look forward to it. Anxiety aside, I know I’ll enjoy myself. I’m just not good with unknowns…
Anyway, coffee is done brewing, music is playing, and there’s fiction to write and edit. I’ll talk at you all soon Blogland.
I know I said the next time we met it’d be to talk about Lansdale’s Savage Season, but I ended up staying home with a bit of a back injury today. In my invalid time, I read White Sand cover to cover. At 160 pages, it wasn’t difficult to do.
This is Sanderson’s first tale told in the graphic format, and I have to say that it was pretty good. I’ve been reading more graphic novels lately, and I would say that this one was solid. Not genius level like Saga, but come on, what is?
The story follows Kenton, a Sand Master. Or, well, a wannabe Sand Master. He’s been in training for eight years, and he pretty much sucks at controlling sand. A terrible shame for the son of the Lord Sand Mastrell, aka the leader of all Sand Masters.
So, Kenton is a hard headed young man, determined to prove his worth despite his fizzling and unreliable abilities. All to spite his father who wants Kenton to give up and move on with his life.
Too bad the guy doesn’t live long enough to see Kenton’s dreams come true. The Sand Masters are attacked, and only a handful survive. Kenton is one of them, his father is not. So now he’s left in his father’s place, and suddenly able to command the sand like he never has before.
But, the government is sick of paying for the Sand Masters. They’re an aloof and elitist bunch, who’ve now worn out their welcome. Kenton has two weeks to unite the Sand Masters behind him, and to convince the council to reconsider their decision to dissolve the Sand Masters entirely.
While Kenton deals with all this, two other characters are followed. Khrissala, the duchess of a kingdom on the other side of the world. She’s on the dayside seeking the fabled Sand Masters in order to appropriate some weapon that her deceased fiancé was after. Though they traveled together for a time, it’s not until the last page that Khrissala learns what Kenton is.
And then there’s Trackt Ais. She seems like a government sanctioned bounty hunter. More likely some sort of detective. She’s hunting for a man called Nilto, who she believes is actually Sharezan. Who that is and why she’s after him, I have no idea.
Overall, this was a quick and fun read. I think the characters are great, the magic is awesome as usual, and the artwork is really delightful. But… and this is hard for me, but the world building is kind of flat. Maybe it’s the format. Maybe it’s just too difficult to build the world with such limited text. I mean, the artwork does a bit of it, but there are a lot of things that just get glossed over and filed away with only a contextual understanding. I’m hoping that the future volumes will flesh things out a bit more, but there’s only two more to go, so I won’t get my hopes up.
I wonder if adapting the graphic novel from an actual novel is part of the problem. This work was not originally intended to be told in a visual format, maybe the world building was part of the sacrifice to get it to work well as a graphic novel.
Either way, this story is still great. I’m ready for the next installment, whenever that will be.
Next time we meet, it should be about Savage Season. Jemisin’s newest book is coming along well, and I can’t wait to finish it and talk to you all about it. My listen of The Martian hit disc 7 today. There are only 9 discs, so that will be over before you know it. Then it’s on to Coraline.
Basically, I’m doing all I can to make up for all the lost reading time over the last two years.
I almost didn’t write this post today. I had a pretty terrible migraine yesterday, which made me leave work. I’ve been at the Library for just over a year, and have never called out or left early, until yesterday. That’s how bad I felt.
And so, though I feel so much better today, I seriously considered just lounging in bed until I had to get ready for work.
But, discipline won out, and here I am, excited as ever to talk to you about Calamity! Now, if you haven’t read my Firefight review, now might be a good time to get yourself caught up. I’d suggest the same for Steelheart, except I read that before I started writing reviews. But, if you’re reading this review before actually reading the series, tsk tsk. Because, here there be spoilers…
I just wrote about 600 words of this review and had to stop. There’s just too much. There are so many minute details that turn out to be important, and things twist and turn in very complex ways. I can’t retell it here. Not if this post is going to make any sense and be any fun to read.
So, key facts.
The Reckoners are on the run after Prof snapped in Babilar. He’s killed most of the Reckoners, leaving David in charge of Cody, Abraham, Mizzy, and Megan.
They track Prof, aka Limelight, to Ildithia. Formerly Atlanta, it’s been transformed into a moving city of salt. Yes, you read that right. And Sanderson does a really great job making the setting believable and undeniably cool.
Larcener, the former ruler of Ildithia, shacks up with the Reckoners in an effort to hide from Limelight, who would like nothing more than to kill the power stealing Epic. He’s lazy and petulant, and hilarious. And dangerous.
David’s convinced that, if they can just make Prof confront his fears, he’ll come back to himself. This is what the Reckoners plan for.
Turns out, it’s not that simple, and in the process Prof accidentally kills Tia. The destruction from his anguish pretty much dooms Ildithia.
Meanwhile Megan keeps testing the limits of her powers, which allow her to “borrow” from alternate dimensions to create illusions. The more she practices, the more real her illusions become.
This is where I have a hard time. The real twist in this story happens right about here. The team fights Prof one last time, using an impressive combination of tech and Epic powers, but they still can’t beat him.
And then some crazy shit happens. Like, Obliteration showing up and (sort of?) helping David. Like, Larcener, who’s been chilling with the team through the entire book, turning out to be Calamity himself.
He’s basically an alien, sent to this world on some sort of mission, which he misinterpreted as expediting man’s destruction of the world. When he’s shown the innate goodness of man, and how, if released from the bitterness and darkness created by Calamity’s own perspective, Epics can use their powers for good, he basically crumbles and poofs away.
And now Epics are free to be themselves, whether they’re good or bad. Now they’re just people. Epic people with Epic powers, that is.
Oh, and David gets to see his father, because in another reality Steelheart killed David instead, snapping his father into becoming one of the first good Epics, who then joined forces with that dimension’s version of the Reckoners.
And that’s basically how it ends.
Oh, except Obliteration shows up, spouting more scripture, and threatening doom on all the world. David points out that Calamity is gone, and Obliteration doesn’t have to be evil anymore. To which Obliteration says he knows. But, in fact, he faced his fears over five years before, and has been acting as his own crazy self this entire time! And he’s given David a warning. Toronto will melt in three days, more or less.
That’s how the book ends!
And Sanderson has already said that this is the end of The Reckoners.
And for this reason, despite the wonderfully written action sequences, and the nuanced build-up of wonderfully character interactions, this book is my least favorite Sanderson story.
Usually, Sanderson ties up his loose ends. But this books ends looking like an Afghan that’s been sitting in the entryway for over a decade. So many questions are left!
What about Prof? His anguish over the death of Tia, at his command. He has to live with that, and so much more, as he remembers all the atrocities he committed as Limelight.
What bout Knighthawk’s wife? She’s been in stasis for over a decade, waiting for a time when Knighthawk could get some of Prof’s tissue to try and heal her. Now he has the tissue! Did she wake up?
What about Cody and Abraham? Both of them were very seriously injured in the final battle with Prof, and though it’s hinted at that they made it, I could really use some details! Like, did Abraham’s arm grow back?!
And now David has powers, what’s he going to do with them?
This might be the end of The Reckoners, because they’ve ended the absolute tyranny of the Epics, thanks to the destruction of Calamity. But, there are so many details left that I’m left feeling quite dissatisfied.
I think this is the most negative review I’ve written of a Sanderson novel. I’m not sure I realized how attached I was to these characters before I finished this book. I’m not ready for this to be the end, not with so many answers still kept from me.
But, it was still a really great read. I was 100% invested in this book, even when things took that sharp turn into the weird. There were ending elements that I enjoyed, like David’s flying lessons with his Dad, and meeting the actual Firefight. I even cried at a couple parts.
So, it’s still a great book. Just be prepared to be left demanding more, and know that, you may never get what you want.
I’m still struggling through Red Rising. I’ve got less than a week to finish it, so I need to stop wasting time. But… it’s so boring. At least so far. Hopefully I can finish it and move on to the next read before too long.
Sorry for the delay. I’ve been doing a TON of edits on The Steel Armada, and fully expect to be done with it before the week is out.
Let me just say that one more time.
I am going to be done with the second draft of my novel sometime this week…
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to. For those of you who follow me on Goodreads, you’ll even see that my reading has slowed considerably, although I think I should be done with House of Many Ways by Wednesday.
So, let’s talk about this thing! This thing being Brandon Sanderson’s newest novella, Mistborn: Secret History.
Let me start now by saying that, if you haven’t read the original Mistborn trilogy, DO NOT read this review. Pretty much, this novella can not exist without the original trilogy, and honestly, would make a ton of sense without the Wayne and Wax books. If you’re not caught up, turn back now!
Ok! Here we go!
So, this novella, which was actually quite long, follows Kelsier after his death at the hands of the Lord Ruler.
Yup. You read that right.
This book is weird. It doesn’t follow Sanderson’s typical storytelling methods, and it reads a bit rough.
Kelsier basically talks his way out of passing into the true afterlife, and gets stuck in limbo. From there he’s able to witness the events of the original trilogy, and even has a very important role in the outcome.
To be honest, I’m not going to be able to rehash this tale in my usual detail. It’s too convoluted and complex. I’m still not entirely sure of everything that happened, so you’re going to have to read it yourself.
Some things I want to mention:
Despite my undying love for all things Mistborn, especially Kelsier, I’m still not sure how I feel about this story. There were a lot of moments where I wasn’t sold on the writing. A first for me when it comes to Sanderson. I think that’s directly linked to the lack of worldbuilding in this novella. In limbo, everything is just mist, occasionally taking on the reverse forms of the real world. Also, Kell is alone for most of the story. He’s a fantastic character, and by the end I remembered why I love him so much, and was so glad to have his continued story, but a novella of mostly monologue was…
That being said, there’s a ton of Cosmere references in this story. As a reminder, the Cosmere is the universe that all of Sanderson’s major works take place in. There’s a larger plot concerning the Cosmere as a whole, but it’s not remotely clear yet, and won’t be until all the worlds and books are explored. I was dying to understand what was happening, and I know there were some heavy drops sprinkled in. I just don’t know enough to recognize them yet.
And, I do think my distance from the original trilogy made reading this story more difficult. I didn’t remember a lot of the more subtle moments, or the less momentous. Even though I’ve read them three times, I never can quite remember all the minutia.
Anyway, the story follows Kelsier post-death as he follows the events of the trilogy. So you’re seeing the events of Mistborn: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, and The Hero of Ages from his spiritual perspective. He has limited vision and hearing, and he can’t really communicate with the living, so his point of view is a very different and complex take on the trilogy.
But, it does explain some key elements from the original novel, and hints that not everything is as it seems in the Wayne and Wax books.
That’s right. Kelsier never actually acquiesces his soul, so he’s still roaming limbo, using his limited abilities to effect the living. I’m not sure what all he’s done, but I have a feeling, if I reread some, I can find him, pulling string from beyond the grave.
But, the real highlight of this story for me was seeing Vin and Elend again. Post-death. I cried, just like I cry every time they die. It was so bittersweet, because Kelsier’s affection for Vin is much better explored and fleshed out. It was rough on my emotions. As usual with these characters.
So, without context, this book absolutely does not work. And honestly, if you’re just a casual fan of the original trilogy, I’m not sure you’d like it. This novella poses a lot of deep questions and toys with what you think you know upon completing the trilogy. It’s not for the faint of heart.
But, if you’re in this deep, like me, then it’s worthwhile. For me, it felt like stolen time. Kelsier was the first Sanderson character I fell in love with. He was my favorite, and he still has a special place in my heart. So, spending so much uninterrupted time with him was magical, even if the ramifications this novella causes are mind-numbing.
And I think that’s really the best part. This novella was incredibly nostalgic for me, while offering up a ton of information and questions for the continuation of not just the Mistborn series, but the Cosmere at large.
So, if you’re like me, and all caught up and dying for any kind of answers, give this novella a try. It’ll confuse you, but it will give you at least some sort of answers while we wait for the last Wayne and Wax book.
I plan on finishing House of Many Ways by Wednesday night, so I should have a book review out on Thursday. From there I’m reading Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey. From there, I’m not entirely sure.
See you soon, Blogland, and as always, thanks for reading!
I literally just finished reading The Bands of Mourning, and I’m at a loss for what else I could possibly do besides talk about this book, RIGHT NOW!
Now, I realize not everyone can read with the fervor I did, so if you’re not finished yet, and don’t want to be spoiled (and you don’t), then turn back now. No one will blame you.
After his wedding is sabotaged by a tumbling water tower Wax and Friends find themselves on a sort of Archaeological expedition, hunting down the fabled Bands of Mourning. They’re said to be the Lord Ruler’s bracers (bracers being the metal forearm bands that store Feruchemical ability).
Ok, I just realized that, unless you’re pretty well versed in your Mistborn lore, this is going to get confusing.
Anyway, the Kandra tried to get Wax to hunt down Mr. Suit (Wax’s Uncle, and the main villain of the series so far) in order to retrieve one of their brother’s Hemalurgic spikes. That’s the deal-y that grants sentience to the Kandra. ReLuur lost his when he was attacked by the Set, the folks Mr. Suit works for, after discovering the lost temple of the Lord Ruler. Insane and rambling without his spike, ReLuur is less than useful in providing information that could lead the Kandra to either his spike or the temple.
But, since the events of the last book, Wax is less than amenable to the whims of the Kandra or Harmony. He staunchly refuses, and so they turn to Marasi. Which really isn’t fair, because she of course says yes, which of course means Wax and Wayne are going too. Damn, sneaky Kandra.
So, Wax ends up traveling with Marasi to New Seran. Which means that Wayne, MeLaan, and Steris all went too. Which was nice. A nice big group on an even bigger adventure!
This book only spends a very small amount of time in Elendel, and focuses mainly on the Southern reaches of the Basin. New territory for the series thus far, and very interesting to see. While New Seran itself was charming, and place I’d love to see explored further, Wax and Co. don’t linger long. As endearing as a town built on a series of waterfalls is, it’s pretty hard to sight-see when you’ve been framed for murder.
Poor Wax can never just enjoy himself…
So the group flees in the night, heading Northeast toward the last known whereabouts of Mr. Suit. But what they find there isn’t Wax’s Uncle, but something far more interesting. And world-shattering.
Hidden in a remote warehouse, the Set is working on refurbishing a humongous ship. But Dulsing, the village the Set commandeered, is as landlocked as they come. Well, as the gang soon discovers, this is no ordinary ship. It doesn’t need water, seeing as it flies. And how does it do that?
Why, with Allomancy, of course!
So, after a wild gunfight, Wax and Friends load onto the ship, adding Wax’s sister Telsin to their company, as well as a man named Aliik. He’s a “Southerner”, someone who lives outside of the Basin, and it’s his people’s ship they’re stealing.
Now, a moment to discuss Aliik and just how crucial he is. While his understanding of Allomancy and Feruchemy are unique, showing that the Southerners view The Metallic Arts quite differently than those in the Basin, he’s much more important than that. Aliik’s very existence pulls the entire understanding of Scadrial into question. Wax and Marasi feel this most keenly, being the most intellectual ones of the group. There’s an entire race of folks whose entire history and customs are different than their own. And they have their own technologies and religions. This is incredibly important and mind-bending stuff for the people of the Elendel Basin. The ramifications don’t really get explored here, but by the end of the novel, it’s plain it’ll come up in the next book.
Ahem, back to the topic at hand. So, they fly away, and though it’d probably be best to head back to Elendel and get reinforcements, there’s not really time. So they fly straight to the mountaintop temple thanks to Aliik and Telsin’s knowledge after being held captive by Mr. Suit and Co.
They get there first, just barely, and proceed through various booby-traps to get to the chamber where the Bracers should be. Except they’re not there. And they never were.
This is where the avalanche happens. Not a literal avalanche, although that was likely, seeing as they’re on top of a frigging mountain. I’m speaking of the Sanderson Avalanche. That wondrous whirlwind of plot points and details, where everything you thought you understood comes together in ways you never could have imagined.
As usual, Sanderson’s novel took a turn that blew my mind, and had me screaming as I read along. Characters are tested, and thus do things you didn’t think them capable of. Wayne in particular has such a moment, and I was at once proud and utterly heartbroken for him.
In fact, looking back, this is a very transformative story for Wayne. He grows a lot, and in ways I wouldn’t have expected. Seeing as he’s my favorite character, possibly of all time, this was an emotional story for me.
Anyway, I don’t want to spoil the avalanche. That’s just asking for bad juju. And if you think the avalanche was mind blowing, just wait for the epilogue. It basically takes everything you think you know about the Mistborn series and says, “There’s always another secret.”
So, some points that aren’t spoiler related. Things I can talk freely about. This book was back in the swing of a high-action, Wild West train ride. The Bands of Mourning felt much more like The Alloy of Law. It was fast-paced, fun, and full of great banter and character interactions. There were tender moments, and much more crassness than I remember in the first two. It was just an incredibly fun book. Unlike Shadows of Self, which was straightforward, very dark, and soul-searching.
And The Bands of Mourning sets the tone for the final book in this series, The Lost Metal. As Sanderson calls it in his Postscript, “The epic finale of Mistborn: Era 2“. I guess that’s the official title for the Wayne and Wax books, now.
Another thing, this book is incredibly lore heavy. I remember thinking that Shadows of Self was a sharp swerve from the episodic and casual manner of The Alloy of Law, instead delving into the depths of Scadrial’s history and legends. Well, The Bands of Mourning makes Shadows look more like the kiddie pool. Events from the original Mistborn trilogy aren’t just mentioned, they’re critical to the plot and continue to be fleshed out. By the end of this book, things I thought were fact at the end of the original trilogy are now entirely up in the air.
Which is where Mistborn: Secret History comes in. What’s this, you ask? Why, a novella that Sanderson is releasing, via ebook only, on Saturday. He didn’t announce it until Bands released, and he added a warning. That, though this novella is set during the original trilogy, it does contain spoilers for The Bands of Mourning.
Basically, I ordered it immediately, and am now so grateful. If I had to wait a whole year (or more) to get any sort of answers after that epilogue, I would be about as sensible as ReLuur sans spike.
So, all in all, I adored this book. It was a return to the tone and pace that made The Alloy of Law my favorite book. Although I think I can safely say that The Bands of Mourning has usurped its predecessors in that regard. That wild west roller coaster feeling, where every page promises some new development. The faith that Wax can solve every problem, even if we’re not sure how he’ll do it just yet. And in this book, Wax’s decimated heart is rejuvenated. Watching him rise above such anger and loathing was really satisfying for me, especially since the last book had such a powerful effect on my emotions.
If you can’t tell, I’ve been listening to Adele’s new CD. And it’s great. Too short, but great.
Anyway, I have some down time and wanted to write a little something that wasn’t a book review. I feel like it’s been forever since we’ve just talked.
I have a very slight cold. My head is stuffy, including nostrils and ears, and though I had a tiny bit of a sore throat two days ago, it has since disappeared. Of course I would get sick in time for my birthday. So dumb.
I’ve been reading a ton, and you’ll get the Silence book review sooner than later. I’m already 30+ pages into the last book, Finale, so be ready for that one probably early next week.
I’ve also been scouring the interwebs for new titles to add to me TBR list, as well as mapping out a rough sketch of what titles I’ll read in 2016.
So far I have:
The Magicians by Lev Grossman Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursala K. LeGuin Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Calamity by Brandon Sanderson Stronghold by Melanie Rawn Dragon Token by Melanie Rawn Skybowl by Melanie Rawn The Hollow City by Ransom Riggs The Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch (hopefully!) The Gospel of Loki by Joanne Harris
Various short fiction by Dashiell Hammet
The Third book in the Stormlight Archive
These are all just titles that are new to me, I haven’t considered the rereads I’ll inevitably undertake during the course of 2016.
Elantris by Brandon Sanderson Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson Mitosis by Brandon Sanderson Firefight by Brandon Sanderson The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
With any luck I’ll also reread the Kingkiller Chronicles because Rothfuss will finally publish the third book! Please for the love of god, PLEASE!
And of course, these titles are all dependent on the idea that I complete the titles remaining on my 2015 list, which are:
Finale by Becca Fitzpatrick Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher Sixth of Dusk by Brandon Sanderson
Should I finish the above, I will finish 2015 with 55 titles read on Goodreads, and more than that when you take my bloglist into account. Overall, I’m really proud of my reading tenacity this year, and am aiming for a repeat performance next year.
Working at a Library means I pretty much think about books all day long. It’s awesome.
Anyway, this was what I wanted to talk about, mostly. I’m really excited for all the reading and writing that’s going to happen next year, and I can’t wait to tell you more as the year’s end gets closer!